Lost class ring returned to LaGrange grad after four decades - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lost class ring returned to LaGrange grad after four decades

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A graduate from LaGrange High School last week received something he's been missing for four decades … his class ring.

Dale Gauthreaux lost it on the I-10 beach and it was discovered by another LaGrange graduate.

Gauthreaux was the average student, not preoccupied with academics or extra-curriculars. He said the one thing he was involved in was "getting out of high school."

"Really, I mean, I had to graduate and I wasn't really into much of anything except cars," Gauthreaux said.

Still, during his senior year, he got a class ring, a symbol for most high school upperclassmen of their time just before entering the real world.

"A gator head inside the topaz which is my birthmark, birthstone, got my initials … You know, everything is pretty natural except the gator head on the inside," he said.

It was along the I-10 bridge in 1972 when Gauthreaux said he was relaxing and enjoying the view with classmates – enjoying the view too much as that was the last time and last place that he would see his class ring for 40 years.

Mike Giles was also a LaGrange student, but he graduated years before Gauthreaux. He found the ring on the beach in 1972 and with every intention of one day finding the original owner.

He kept the ring and the years passed.

"I took it home, put it in the jewelry box and basically forgot about it for 40 years... And it traveled around the world with me to different jobs with me and went overseas and came back to Lake Charles with me about 1990," Giles said.

After returning to Lake Charles and speaking with neighbors, Giles was able to connect the ring to Gauthreaux and surprised him with the ring.

"I was told somebody had something of mine. I said the only thing it could be is my graduation ring and it's on the bottom of the beach … and well, it ain't at the bottom of the beach," Gauthreaux said.

Giles said he, himself, lost his ring 40 or 50 years ago.

"I think it means a lot to him. I wish I had mine back. Mine is in a marsh. I lost it when I was duck hunting 40 to 50 years ago and if it means as much to him as mine did to me, I'm sure he's glad to have it back," he said.

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